Dearest Mr. Bradbury,
What I remember.
A beautiful alien woman cradled within a precognitive dream.
Psychotic Martians turning Martian-made tricks in a locked corridor where astronauts realize they have lost all hope.
A mid-western town frozen in time. Tended lawns and flowerbeds sprouting vivid beauties from dark, damp soil. Sweet and seductive homes that line empty streets. Sinister intentions creeping through corridors behind lace covered windows. Eyes lurking in the dark, seeing all, and waiting for the kill.
The Martian sky in flame as earth implodes in the wake of mankind’s mistakes.
Mr. Bradbury, these were my first memories of you.
When I was nine years old my family took a road trip. As we drove you painted the world in shades of strange beauty and alien realities. Little did I know, as our rickety Subaru navigated the terrain, that your prowess, delicate brilliance, and creative ingenuity would come to be an undercurrent and influence in my writing years later.
Yet, these are mere words. They don’t fully explore or explain the impact that your stories had upon my future.
So, instead, here’s reality.
I fell out of love with science fiction. It was only a short period, but I confess it happened. Many of the stories, once memorized, grew stale and unfamiliar.
But then, something strange, something quite Bradburian, began to take place. The forgotten stories manifested in dreams.
There is a house. Not any house, a futuristic house. Everything is automatized. The morning alarm pleasantly wakes the household. Breakfast is prepared with space age instruments, timed appliances, and inhuman hands. The lulling voice of an AI creation announces the events of the day as prescribed by the inhabitants. There were children once. They had a nursery. Not just any nursery. A nursery designed with the dexterous fingers of a furious imagination. There is a dog. His body is whittled of fat, left with the protruding bones indicative of starvation. The house is a skeleton with no heart.
The house, devoid of its human caretakers, attempts to save itself. It fails. The house is taken in a sweeping surge of flame and smoke. A dark death for a servant of man.
For so long I slept with these images. I felt the palpable grief, agony, and sorrow that it stirred. A will to put something right that went horribly wrong. A darkness too bright to see through.
This story, of course, was born from your mind, transcribed onto paper, and published as part of the Martian Chronicles. It had clung even when I forgot. It festered and grew and blossomed. It cultivated a fastidious desire to produce a dark brilliance of my own.
With so many words already written, I realize how simple this love letter could have been.
Ray Bradbury, you kindled my desire to tell stories. You write with a sense of dark, bold, honest, and simple style that I crave to emulate. You gave me hope through your zest, direction from your prose, and a voice of my own.
I thank you.